In a lawsuit filed last month in
According to the lawsuit, the six-story building, located near
The lawsuit seeks
"They were in a position to know what the replacement cost would be," Smolka said of Farmers, adding that the individual condo owners were not insurance experts and were "relying on Farmers to write a policy properly."
According to the lawsuit,
After the fire, Farmers increased the building's coverage limit to
The fire that heavily damaged
Due to the extensive damage that occurred, the cause of the blaze has remained undetermined, the fire marshal's report said.
A portion of the building's roof collapsed and the remainder of the building sustained heavy water damage as firefighters worked throughout the day to extinguish the fire, said
"Basically, the whole building had to be scooped out," Silver said. "It's now a big, open area. The only thing you see is an elevator shaft and stairways."
While much of the brick exterior will remain, the inside will need to be completely rebuilt, according to current building codes, which now require sprinkler systems in residential buildings, Silver said. The condo association plans to present each condo unit owner with a rebuilt "shell" of their former residence, he said. Owners will be responsible for remodeling and covering that cost, he indicated.
The building has sat empty for more than a year, though construction work recently began, Silver said. Without the
The building was not always under-insured, attorneys for the Landings maintain.
Prior to 2015,
By 2017, the coverage limit under Farmers was
When asked if the decrease in the amount of coverage raised any concerns for the management association that oversees the Landings complex, Smolka said the assumption was that the coverage was correct because, based on
It was not until after the fire that the true cost to rebuild was revealed, Smolka said.
Also named as a defendant in the lawsuit is
Piatek said neither she, nor her agency, would be commenting on the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that Piatek purposely lowered the coverage limit far below the building's replacement value in order to sell the policy to the 9396 Landings
Each of the 15 condominium buildings in the Landings is individually insured and each has an association and board that approves their building's insurance policy, Silver said.
In the case of
That individual is not named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
According to the Illinois State Fire Marshal's report, the 2018 fire originated inside unit 605 in a bedroom that had been converted from a dining room. Fire patterns indicated the fire may have started where the bed had been located, but the exact point of origin could not be determined due to the extensive fire damage, according to the report.
An occupant of the unit told detectives that he awoke to find a fire on the floor at the foot of his bed, but did not know exactly what was on fire, the fire marshal's report says. According to the report, he was able to escape the unit with his girlfriend, mother and grandmother.
The report states that the condo unit where the fire started was being rented. The Landings requires units to be owner-occupied and rentals are prohibited, Silver said, denying that the family living in the unit were tenants of the owner.
When residents may begin moving back into their condo units is still unknown.
"My heart goes out to these people," Silver said. "They've been displaced for a year-and-change already, and they are still several months away from returning. It's obviously something that's disrupted their lives permanently. It's a sad situation."
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